Experimental Aircraft (Devil in the Woods)

Experimental Aircraft (Devil in the Woods)

Experimental Aircraft

(Devil in the Woods)

You can't take pretentiousness out of the Brits, but you sure can take it out of their music. Experimental Aircraft takes the dense, swirling brushstrokes and dreamy atmospheric sheen of such turn-of-the-Nineties imports as the Catherine Wheel, Lush, and most importantly, My Bloody Valentine, and welds to it a thumping vigor that keeps them firmly rooted in the trenches of rock & roll. Many a heady, atmospheric Brit-rocker has gradually floated deep into the clouds of indulgence and irrelevance, and Austin's ExAir has seemingly learned from this folly, in the process landing a deal with San Francisco indie Devil in the Woods to re-release this 31-minute debut first released locally back in March. The thumping rhythm section gives the band ammunition to rock hard when moments of floaty rapture give way to a colorful sonic barrage. At times, it adds up to an earthier version of My Bloody Valentine's wombadelic bliss, most apparent on the standout "Electric Surgery." Rachel Staggs' ethereal honey-soaked vocals, eerily in line with MBV's Bilinda Butcher's, carries the track through a slow-strumming, echo-drenched buildup, and a sudden pause. Then waves of sound come crashing down as if somebody cranked up the long-lost hidden track from Loveless. Thick sheets of phased guitar form a wall of sound that melts into a vertigo-inducing whir that's a dead ringer for the Kevin Shields tremolo sound. And while the ExAir oeuvre is more on the rock end of the spectrum than much of MBV's work, it's exciting to know they are capable of such ethereal moments.

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